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Malta Annual Review 2021
The global business community continues to face unprecedented challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We continued to see a growth in the services provided by our Digital Solutions team. This growth is primarily fueled by functional and enterprise-wide transformation, where clients need to access a broad set of capabilities from strategy-through-execution. Accelerated by COVID-19, we experienced particularly strong demand for technology-enabled business transformation (finance, front office, human resources, supply chain) and cloud-driven digital transformation as clients sought to build resilience into their organisations.
Naturally, technological innovation and transformation brings with it a myriad of new operational and information technology risks. Organisations recognised the need to manage new risks exposed by COVID-19 and build on the increased momentum of digital transformation triggered by the pandemic. This resulted in a strong demand for our technology risk and assurance services, with organisations increasingly seeking external assurance over areas such as third-party relationships and cybersecurity frameworks.
We continue to support clients across a variety of different industries in their digital transformation journey, driving projects across all stages from strategy to execution. Government departments and agencies continue to take steps forward and through a number of significant ongoing projects, we remain at the forefront of a number of core transformation initiatives which will have a lasting impact on service delivery and customer experience across the country at large.
In the financial services sector, we continue to provide ongoing support to large local banks and insurance businesses with respect to their IFRS 9, IFRS 17 and business process digital transformation initiatives. We have also provided strategic support to a number of growing businesses in relation to their digital strategy, IT transformation and finance function transformation projects.
During the year we successfully concluded the implementation of several Data and Analytics solutions across various industries allowing for our client to leverage insights to inform strategic and operational decisions in a more agile manner. Moreover, in addition to implementing analytical solutions we have also assisted clients in reviewing the governance aspects around the data used in such solutions thus ensuring it is secure and of the highest quality.
We have also deployed our knowledge and tools internally and have undertaken various internal projects aimed at transforming and streamlining our internal processes and functions.
Within the sphere of cyber security, 2021 was an eventful year with the numerous advanced hacking operations across various industries by threat actor groups. Most prominently, the SolarWinds supply chain hack saga that happened in 2020 leading into 2021, as well as the large-scale ransomware infection hitting the Colonial Pipeline in the US which affected the gas distribution across numerous states. Similar high-profile attacks also impacted the local market.
As cyber resilience continues to take center stage, we helped clients perform penetration testing to proactively identify exploitable security weaknesses that pose serious risks to their business. We have also seen a rise in demand for web application security assessments as more businesses become more reliant on web-based platforms for both internal and external use.
Security around the interbanking communication network SWIFT, was also high on credit institutions' agenda as the SWIFT organisation mandated independent assessments on the in-scope infrastructure starting this year. In this regard, our team has worked with various local banks to prepare them in this journey and successfully attest compliance to the SWIFT CSP requirements.
Recent regulatory developments and market pressures are leading to trust becoming the key for successful relationships amongst business partners and clients. Consequently, we are seeing a shift in the local market with a greater interest and importance being given to Third Party Assurance reports. In line with our PwC purpose to build trust in society and solve important problems, we continue to dedicate resources to support our clients with Third Party Assurance reports covering controls over financial reporting and information security related controls.
The firm continued to invest in the IT infrastructure required to support and manage the growth of the firm, particularly as a consequence of the increasing role played by technology in client service delivery. An increase in complexity of the mix of services, such as third-party cloud, global and locally managed IT with differing service levels, could affect time to recover from a significant failure. Overall, the firm’s IT infrastructure has proved to be resilient despite the pressures of COVID-19.
The team has also provided scalable managed services to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we have developed various models that allow us to apply the right combination of people, processes and technology to our clients' environments.
The team also helped clients to make better use of the investment in cloud services – going beyond email to document management and workflow solutions as well as improved security features that are vital when so many users are working from home, using home Wi-Fi and Internet connections
More support services as well as implementation projects were delivered remotely as the PwC team also worked from home. PwC, like many of its clients enjoyed the benefit of secure, scalable IT infrastructure that made the switch to remote working a smooth transition, allowing management to concentrate on business challenges brought about by COVID-19.